Monday, February 29, 2016

Nick Cleans Up

Let's get real here team, Chicago is quite the destination. So many places to see and people to meet, it can be incredibly overwhelming at times. After spending time downtown yesterday, as well as some in our group having their first experiences with true Chicago-style deep dish pizza, we barely even scratched the surface of what this city has to offer. But let's pull back the layer of luxuries and observe the reality of the community we are committed to serving while we continue our time here. 

Today I had the pleasure of traveling with my friends Fr. Bill, Allison, Miranda, and Beth to rake the leaves at a Harm Reduction Facility for those that have HIV. Yes, you heard that right, we raked leaves. Although this seems like a simple task, the people we interacted with is what truly made the day. Being in this low-income area, with rival gangs just around the corner, our little adventure was a lot more than just raking leaves. It was about serving a group of people who are in a tough situation. Even something as simple as raking leaves can make make a difference. Yes, the lawn is neater. And yes, nobody else now has to take the time out of their day to complete such tasks. But was this really about raking leaves? No. This was about being there. This was clearly seen by the enthusiasm and sincerity of whom we serve. So let's get real here, Chicago is quite the place to rake leaves.

All the best,

Nick Hudak

Monday Afternoon Back at St Ambrose

After getting back from their ministry sites our group again split up to tackle more tasks.  Half were on the cooking crew in service to our own selves and half went over to the Church to be of service to our hosts.

Gigi and Chelsea were our chief chefs and got to work on lasagne while Miranda jumped in for the pudding mix and garlic bread.

Kayla was in charge of the fruit and went to work on the pineapple while Chelsea cheered her on.

Nick, Beth and Allison took on the job of steam cleaning the chairs in the Church.  This job was on the parish's "wish list" for quite a while and they were able to knock the job out in 2 1/2 hours of hard work.

Monday at Ministry Sites

Happy Leap Day everyone. Allison's mom sent us all a message this morning saying that today was a "bonus day" and we were all to try something new on this bonus day so off we went to our ministry sites for the day.

Half the group went to the Kenwood United Church of Christ to help in the soup kitchen. 

They worked with Ernest in the kitchen and served breakfast to the guests before they were put on the chopping line.  They had to chop donated peppers and onions and bag them for the freezer for future use.  The peppers were the easy part of the day but the onions were the the real test.  In fact, the onion vapors got so bad they had to step out for breathers before heading back in for another round of chopping.  

Maggie, Gigi, Chelsea and Kayla then got the great idea to ask if they had a fan in the kitchen and ventilation was restored and onions got chopped.


Fr. Bill took Nick, Allison, Beth and Miranda to the Alexian Brother's AIDS Ministry house in South Chicago.  We were expecting to help paint but the maintenance person couldn't make it so we were asked to work outside cleaning the grounds.

It was cold and windy but the crew had a good sense of humour and attracted the job.  Nick is getting ready for a job interview back in Pittsburgh so the others decided to hold mock interview questions to get him ready.

We needed a treat for lunch so we went to the Mexican grocery store to pick up some fruit and were pleased to see so much tropical produce.

We feasted on ripe mangos for lunch.

An Afternoon At The Loop

Officially the sculpture is called the Reflecting Cloud but everyone in Chicago calls it The Bean.

The real genius of the art is how it pulls people in to interact with it.

Not only do you see yourself but you see everyone else in the park and the city skyline. The people and the city are the art.

So here is a group photo unlike any other.  Our Mission Trip group is a fleeting moment of art in Chicago.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mass at St Ambrose

The first day of our adventure in Chicago began on February 28th, at a 10:30 am Mass in the St. Ambrose Chapel. Mass was such a heartwarming experience. The community welcomed us with friendly greetings and made us feel part of their community. The Mass consisted of joyful singing, a lovely homily, and greetings from all parishioners around the Chapel. It was so wonderful to see such a happy community welcoming us into their lives. We loved singing along and praying with them today! It was wonderful getting to know everyone and learning about their culture through Mass. After Mass we were able to talk to this humble woman who told us about her experience of traveling to Antartica for National Geographic. It is so amazing to hear others stories and their views on God as well. After Mass, the crew got ready to head out to lunch for some Chicago deep dish pizza and then tour downtown Chicago! It was a long and enjoyable day, but such a great bonding experience for all of us! More pictures will be headed your way soon! Keep us in your prayers for tomorrow for our mission work begins! 

Allison Goodwin 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Cooking chili

Allison and Nick set the table.  When we told them they could use any of the dishes they wanted so they became the ambiance team and set a table to remember. 

Maggie and Gigi figure out how use the stove at St. Ambrose 

Road Trip to Chicago

Hey all! Kayla here. Today marks our day of departure and arrival. Pictured above is our smiling group right before we embarked on our 7 hour journey through the hills of PA, the flats of Ohio, the farms of Indiana, the industrial area of Illinois, and into the great city of Chicago! You really get to learn a lot about the people you are with when you're trapped in a high-tech mini van for such a long period of time. In our car, we let Allison control the tunes for the majority of the trip, and she kept us entertained with sings we could jam out to. Later, Maggie educated us about the turn of the eighteenth century with the Hamilton soundtrack. We rolled into the city at the end of our trip with the classic "Chicago" by Frank Sinatra. Rumor has it that the other van listened to Afro dance which must have been an experience in itself. 
After we cook and eat dinner, we all plan to explore the lovely house and town we're blessed enough to call home for the next few days.
We're all looking forward to getting involved in the culture and community as we begin the service aspect of our trip in the next few days. More updates coming at you soon!

Friday, February 26, 2016

We leave tomorrow

Good morning 

I woke up this morning and immediately opened a weather report for Chicago. They had a bad snow storm two days ago but today they are warm and rainy. I'm just hoping for clear roads and someplace to park when we get to St Ambrose. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Opening the blog

OK Chicago Dayton fans, this is Fr. Bill here at the Spiritan Campus Ministry Center and Kate has logged me in and given me the keys to this year's blog.

Stay tuned for all our pre trip updates and fund raising efforts. And pictures... lots of pictures.